When I went through my lever-action phase decades ago, I picked up a Marlin Golden 39A Mountie so I could shoot a lot with .22 Rimfire ammunition. That’s wishful thinking these days considering the cost and limited availability of .22s, but it’s still a fun gun to shoot. It feeds and functions reliably with Short, Long or Long Rifle ammunition, so if I happen upon some long-forgotten old dusty box of any of those in some gas station or hardware store with an equally dated price tag on it, I can snatch it up cheap and know it will work.
Marlin made the Mountie from 1953 to 1972 and it embodies what I think a “classic” lever-action should. It’s all walnut and steel—the only plastic on the gun is the buttpad, white-line spacer and “bullseye” inletted into the buttstock. Sights are quality steel with the “stepped elevator” that never goes out of adjustment, and the front sight has a brass bead that can be polished up if you want it bright. The only thing I’m not wild about is the “Micro-Groove” rifling. Don’t get me wrong, it works great, but given the style of the gun, I’d prefer conventional rifling instead.
One neat thing about the gun is that it’s a take-down. All you have to do is loosen a thumbscrew on the side of the receiver to break the gun down into two pieces for stowing in a backpack. It’s pretty accurate, too. I couldn’t tell you how many head-shots I’ve made on squirrels using it with .22 Short hollow-points, but it’s a lot. Hopefully one day folks will quit hoarding .22 Rimfire and it will come back down in price and become available so my kids and I can start enjoying this rifle again like we should.
I know the ammo makers are churning out .22 Rimfire as fast as they can. In other countries I’ve been to, there isn’t an availability problem so I’d like your thoughts on what’s going on with .22s. I know folks here snatch up bricks as soon as they’re put on the shelves and then either hoard or resell them for ridiculous prices at gun shows. Even at retail I’ve seen bricks of off-brand rimfire priced at $99 at a discount sporting goods store, which is stupid high. What’s the situation like where you are?
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.